Brazilians have rallied in support of their candidates in next Sunday’s presidential vote in a race increasingly dominated by the issues of crime and corruption. Two polls released during the final weekend of campaigning showed President Luiz Lula da Silva hanging on to a lead that would give him an outright victory in the first round. Support is waning though over an alleged smear campaign against the opposition. Five Lula aides have lost their jobs over the accusations.
Lula’s main rival, Geraldo Alckmin of the Social Democracy Party, highlighted the sleaze issue during campaigning. He spent the weekend in Brazil’s northeast, a Lula stronghold, where he tried to keep the focus on the scandal. Lula – in TV ads – has accused Alckmin, the former governor of Sao Paolo state, of leaving the city of Sao Paolo a hostage to organised crime. If Lula fails to get a clear majority, the second round vote would be on the 29th of October.